Sledgehammer Games invades the UK with new Call of Duty studio

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Sledgehammer Games has expanded dramatically during its second decade as one of Activision Blizzard’s premier Call of Duty development studios. And now he’s expanding into the UK with a new studio in Guildford, UK.

The San Mateo, California-based company is leading the launch of Call of Duty: Vanguard, and is now in its second decade of operation as one of the premier studios in the Call of Duty franchise, which has sold more than 400 million. of copies. till the date. As Call of Duty expands with Warzone, Zombies, premium games, and Call of Duty: Mobile, so are the development tasks.

So it’s no wonder that Sledgehammer Games continues to expand. He previously began studio expansions in Melbourne, Australia in 2019 and Toronto, Canada, in 2021.

As we’ve noted in our stories for a while, it’s an explosive moment for Sledgehammer as it’s part of Activision Blizzard, which the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued for sex discrimination and more allegations supporting the lawsuit other a difficult culture for hired employees. Some gamers have said they plan to boycott Activision Blizzard games as a result of the lawsuit, and the parent company has started to remove some Blizzard leaders. But some women who work for the company They have also said that they prefer players to play their games while supporting their cause.

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Sledgehammer said today that he is focusing on areas where there is great talent, which is why he chose Guildford.

“Guildford has a long history of game development, and as a result, there are many top-tier talents and an existing game developer community there and in the surrounding cities. We also have an easy reverse trip from London, which has a huge talent pool, ”said Liz Wyle, general manager of Sledgehammer Games Guilford, in a statement.

Above: Call of Duty: Richard Webb from Vanguard.

The new Guildford studio will partner with teams in the Bay Area, Melbourne and Toronto to support the live seasons of Call of Duty: Vanguard, as well as future projects planned for years to come.

The studio has openings in art, design, engineering, animation, user interface and user experience, production, audio, and more.

“I am very excited to bring our studio brand to the UK, along with the incredible franchise we are getting to work on. It’s another opportunity to do our little part to grow the industry, in a place where there are a lot of talented developers, ”Andy Wilson, Sledgehammer’s chief operating officer, said in a statement. “As we have done at our other locations, we will seek to establish partnerships with schools and universities to help nurture and grow the next generation of talent. It’s not just about finding people already working in the industry, it’s about providing pathways for those looking to enter. I remember that daunting feeling very well and it makes me happy to provide opportunities, especially when we emerge from a historic pandemic. “

Deck history

Above: Deck Delivery at Sledgehammer Games

I have written about the history of the company a couple of times in the past. Sledgehammer started in 2009, founded by former Electronic Arts executives Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey, who worked on the Dead Space franchise at EA’s Visceral Games. They started Sledgehammer in the shadow of EA in San Mateo, California, and began work on a game in the Call of Duty universe. But Activision quickly recruited Sledgehammer to work on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

That was Jason West and Infinity Ward’s Vince Zampella had a dispute with Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick over the management of the Call of Duty franchise and the proper payment of royalties. West and Zampella left to start Respawn Entertainment (maker of Titanfall) and they took many developers with them. Sledgehammer Games had to help with MW3, as the game was only about 20 months old until its release and was in a state of disarray. Infinity Ward had to rebuild and Sledgehammer took on its role in the rotation alongside Treyarch as one of Activision’s top Call of Duty studios.

Sledgehammer got into the groove as one of the top three studios working on three-year-long Call of Duty projects so Activision could release a major Call of Duty game each year. He shipped Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare in 2014, and then followed up with 2017 with Call of Duty: WWII.

Then it was time for Sledgehammer to break through the turmoil.

In late 2017, Brendan Greene and PUBG Corp. (now part of Krafton) released PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds as a free battle royale game. It became extremely popular, as did Epic Games’ Battle Royale game Fortnite. Leadership changed at Sledgehammer, and Schofield and Condrey were first reassigned to a new project and eventually left to begin their own studies. While Schofield and Condrey staffed their independent companies, an estimated 100 people out of 300 developers left Sledgehammer to go elsewhere.

And then the rebuilding of Sledgehammer began. In February 2018, Aaron Halon became the studio director. And Andy Wilson (no, he’s not Andrew Wilson, the CEO of rival Electronic Arts) later joined as COO. Sledgehammer made contributions to Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War, but those responsibilities were shifted to Treyarch and Raven so Sledgehammer could focus on Vanguard. Fortunately for Activision, Cold War was a huge success, as was the free Battle Royale mode that comes with it, Call of Duty: Warzone. Call of Duty: Mobile also took off at the same time.

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